Pubdate: Mon, 29 Jul 2002
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2002 The Baltimore Sun, a Times Mirror Newspaper.
Author: Robert Sharpe


The manslaughter charge against a Carroll County woman accused of supplying 
a prescription drug to a heroin-using relative (who ultimately died of an 
overdose) reaffirms a bad situation ("Woman charged in drug death of 
nephew," July 17).

Drug users are reluctant to seek medical attention for fellow users for 
fear of being charged with a crime. I think it's safe to say that turnout 
at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings would be rather low if alcoholism were a 
crime pursued with zero-tolerance zeal.

The tough-on-some-drugs approach compels problem users of illegal drugs to 
suffer in silence. Eliminating the stigma and penalties associated with 
illicit drug addiction would encourage the type of honest discussion 
necessary to facilitate rehabilitation and save lives.

Robert Sharpe,

The writer is a program officer for the Drug Policy Alliance.
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